The only thing we can be absolutely sure of is our own consciousness. But what is consciousness? Is it a property that is unique to humans or do we share it with other life forms?
Or is the philosophical doctrine of panpsychism correct—are stars and the entire Universe conscious in some sense?
Early chapters in this book examine the prehistory, mythology, and history of this topic. Arguments are presented from the viewpoints of shamans, philosophers, poets, quantum physicists, and novelists.
A simple “toy” model of panpsychism is then presented, in which a universal field of proto-consciousness interacts with molecular bonds via the vacuum fluctuation pressure of the Casimir effect. It is shown how this model is in congruence with an anomaly in stellar motions called “Parenago’s discontinuity.”
Cool, redder, less massive stars such as the Sun apparently circle the center of the galaxy faster than their hotter, bluer, more massive sisters. This discontinuity occurs at the point in the stellar distribution where molecules begin to appear in stellar spectra. Observations of main sequence stars out to ~260 light years and giant stars out to >1000 light years using the ESA Hipparcos space observatory support the reality and nonlocality of Parenago’s discontinuity. Local, more conventional explanations for this phenomena are not supported by observations of other galaxies and spiral arms of the Milky Way.
If position and kinematics data for ~1 billion stars currently being obtained by the new ESA Gaia space observatory demonstrate that Parenago’s discontinuity is a galaxy-wide phenomenon, the hypothesis that anomalistic star motion is due to stellar volition, as described by philosopher/author Olaf Stapledon in his classic novel Star Maker, will be strengthened, as previously discussed by the author in the peer-reviewed journal JBIS.
A special feature of this book is the chapter frontispiece art. Artist C Bangs has created digital collages combining photographs as well as public access astronomical and ecological images. Her efforts are directed at demonstrating the connection of terrestrial life to the Cosmos and the transcendental nature of a proto-consciousness field that pervades the Universe and interacts with all molecular matter. Her work is presented in the developing spirit of scientist-artist collaborations.
About the author
Greg Matloff is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, has chaired many technical sessions, and is listed in numerous volumes of Who’s Who. In 2008 he was honored as Scholar on Campus at New York City College of Technology. In addition to his interstellar travel research, he has contributed to SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), modeling studies of human effects on Earth’s atmosphere, interplanetary exploration concept analysis, alternative energy, in-space navigation, and the search for extrasolar planets.
C Bangs’ art investigates frontier science combined with symbolist figuration from an ecological feminist point of view. Her work is included in public and private collections as well as in books and journals. Public collections include the Library of Congress, NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center, British Interplanetary Society, New York City College of Technology, Pratt Institute, Cornell University, and Pace University. The ‘‘I Am the Cosmos’’ exhibition at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton included her work, Raw Materials from Space and the Orbital Steam Locomotive. Her art has been included in eight books, two peer-reviewed journal articles, several magazine articles, and art catalogs.
Interview on The Space Show
To download Greg’s interview on The Space Show hosted by Dr David Livingston visit:
By Herb Klitzner, 2017
“Greg Matloff has woven a remarkable book of reflecting on and sharing his ever-growing professional life as an astrophysicist.
Matloff intelligently and creatively addresses the accumulating evidence for volition of motion in a specific category of stars. Specifically, he explains that cooler stars are moving faster that they should around the galaxy because they can sustain a halo of molecules that don’t get burned off and that can be used by the star to determine emission of jets from the surface in a direction that, over time, accelerates velocity in orbit.
Matloff includes many intriguing sub-topics, with excellent references and links, together constituting an entire scientific culture. These areas include Roger Penrose and quantum consciousness, Olaf Stapleton and his influential and predictive 1930s Star Maker science fiction story, and Arthur C. Clarke and his science-fiction and engineering designs … ”